Pubdate: Thu, 02 Nov 2017
Source: Standard, The (St. Catharines, CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 St. Catharines Standard
Author: Linda Crabtree
Page: C2


I had no idea.

Curious to find out what goes into the making of the medical cannabis
I vaporize and inhale most nights to dull the pain and let me sleep, I
spent an afternoon at the recent Grow Up Cannabis Conference in
Niagara Falls; five hours in absolute awe at the immense reach of this
vast new Canadian industry.

Because using recreational marijuana will no longer be a criminal
offence come next July, the entire industry all across Canada is
showcasing its products.

Here's a brief look at what is involved. I've likely missed much of it
but I think you'll get the idea of its potential.

As it stands now, a potential grower must apply for a license from the
Government of Canada. The paperwork takes a team, consultants, lawyers
and financial advisors. Then there is a greenhouse set up, sometimes
more than hundreds of acres that you either buy or lease. Your setup
includes infrastructure such as electricity and water and then there
is fencing around the actual buildings. Interior grow areas feature
plant benches and containers, specialty soils, pollination,
fertilizers and grow boosters, setups for water and fertilizer
delivery, mildew and pest control which can be either insecticides or
other bugs that eat the bugs eating the cannabis. And, you need
exterior and interior security for the entire setup, much of it
digital cameras, run by computers and a human being to monitor the

Once you have decided what strains you will grow, bought seed or
clones, and planted, the plants have to be nurtured with the right
amount of light and water and movement of air. These can be analyzed
for optimization and are imperative for a good harvest. Backup
generators ensure there are no disasters.

And because you need to know exactly what percentage of THC (it gives
you a high) and CBD (it doesn't) your harvest contains, you need to
have it analyzed so you can recommend strains to your patients for
various conditions and guarantee quality.

Plants are continually inspected and trimmed to obtain the maximum
output of useful bud. Once harvested, the plant is cured and then the
bud pulled off by hand and put through a rotating machine that takes
off the leaves, then it is packaged and stored until orders are picked
from the supply on hand and shipped. All of this takes workers, the
majority of whom must be trained to maintain sanitary conditions
throughout the operation.

Then there is management that includes everything from payroll to
advertising and the person who talks to you on the phone when you call
up to ask what they've got for migraine headaches. An oil may be

To buy an extraction system for medicinal grade oils can average from
US$40,000 to 50,000. This stainless-steel apparatus takes one to two
hours per pound of trim to extract a small amount of oil from a large
amount of cannabis trim. This means the entire plant is used but the
time and cost is reflected in the price. Outside of actual growing
there is a swirl of activity that includes packaging and label design
and manufacturing, clinics that connect patients with providers,
manufacturers of delivery systems such as pipes and vaporizers and the
many shops that sell various cannabis paraphernalia.

And, if the government keeps its promise to let anyone grow annually
up to four plants indoors, there are packages that can turn a closet
into a growing area complete with lighting and reflective wall
coverings. One company offers shipping container-size units as
complete miniature grow operations.

There is now the International Medical Cannabis Association. Who knew?
And how about the magazines, newsletters and blogs that are
flourishing, the expos and conferences and stock investors. If you
need help there are management teams for just about every area of the
industry. Several colleges are offering growing medical cannabis
training including Niagara College. And, thanks to funding from
producers, legitimate research has begun on the beneficial rosy future
for this newly discovered yet long-maligned plant.

Billions in tax dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be just
two of the many benefits of opening our eyes and minds. It's about
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